Boss Ladies

Boss Ladies | Sara Combs

07.06.17

Photos c/o Rich Combs

Sara Combs is an artist and a designer who focuses on creating intuitive and meaningful experiences. She uses a variety of mediums; everything from design for both web and apps, to pattern design and illustration and interior design. Since moving to California after graduating from the Maryland Institute College of Art, she’s been in love with the state’s landscape and laid back way of life.

Growing up I really wanted to be
An artist or a ballerina (one of my first paintings was of me as a ballerina — with no arms, of course).

My most-used emojis are
The cactus, what I call the magic emoji (glitter emoji), and the heart.

My go-to order at a coffee shop is
Either a chai or latte with almond milk.

I don’t know how I ever lived without
The desert.

One thing people don’t know about me is
My husband and I were high school sweethearts.

My real life hero is
Bob, who runs the Sky Village Swap meet in Yucca Valley.  His main focus in life is what he calls unshakeable happiness. He asked himself what he wanted in life, and the answer was happiness. His next questions were, “how do I get it and how do I keep it?” His answer is to find it in the simplest of moments, something that can’t be taken away.

What I love about my work is
I do it because I love it, and it often doesn’t even feel like work.

The hardest thing about my work is
I can work around the clock or through weekends before I notice I haven’t taken time to rest and reset.

How I got started with my current career
My current career is a mix of many things I love: interior design, web design, and illustration. Each area feeds the others. For example, I was able to start doing more Interior design by buying a house and renovating it with money earned from my web design career. Renting that space via Airbnb gives me the freedom to only to do web or illustration projects that I’m truly excited about. It all comes full circle.

The dumbest thing I did when I was starting out
Undervalue my work.

My typical day looks like
It’s taken me a while to learn, but with busy days I need a calm start to keep me grounded. Lately that’s been a morning yoga session. Next, I dive right into emails and messages while eating breakfast. Since we’re currently renovating our kitchen, breakfasts have been simple: a granola bar and a glass of orange juice or coffee. Otherwise, I love a good green smoothie!

Messaging is a large part of my day. Usually emails are the source of new web design projects, illustration projects, photo shoots etc. Though an important part of my day, emails are also a source of major distraction . If I see a new email pop up as I’m working on a separate project, it’s difficult not to take a look. Same goes for Instagram!

Besides working on design projects or home renovations, we also check in on our Airbnb rentals at least once a week to make sure everything’s running smoothly.

Somehow the day turns into sunset. Whenever possible, I love to take a sunset hike before dinner to process the day.

 

I used to think success meant
Being busy.

My current definition of success is
Having free time to explore and stay curious.

An example of when I had to push through my insecurities
My husband and I quit our full-time jobs at the same time to start our own design studio. We both had many moments of “what did we just do?!”

I know my work/life balance is out of sync when
When my husband and I start arguing, we know we’re working too much. We usually rectify that with a hike or simply spending more time outside.

The last time I created something I was proud of was
I’m incredibly proud of the house we are currently renovating. There’s nothing more satisfying than designing the experience surrounding us.

I wish I could tell my younger self
Don’t spend time worrying about what others think you “should” be doing. If you feel passion in your gut, pursue it. Time does not wait.

The legacy I hope to leave is
An appreciation for nature, and motivation to live a life of passion and love.

XO,

Sara

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